How far have we come in 4 years?
A.S.I. Moosa (Sappe'), Editor-in-Chief, Dhivehi Observer, 17 October 2007
It was exactly 4 years to the day, when the BBC World broadcast a special report on the Maldives, highlighting for the first time, the extent of torture and oppression of the regime of Dictator Gayyoom. Adam Mynott's pioneering report came as a shock to many and planted the seed for the current democracy movement. For the very first time, the international community was made aware of the rising tension in the country. The report highlighted the cases of the murder of the inmates in Maafushi jail in the preceding month, September 2003. The report drew attention to the plight of the people in a country that until that time, the world thought was just a paradise.
17th October 2003
BBC World Service report by Adam Mynott exposed the darker side of Maldives. Proof that economic prosperity was at the expense of basic human rights. Gayyoom accused BBC of misleading the world. Maldivians condemned Gayyoom openly for the first time in this report because they had run out of patience.
Of course, as usual, the Dictator reacted in the only way he knows. He wrote to the BBC trying to discredit the sources of the report. When they refused to accept his propaganda, he tried to discredit the BBC. However, his efforts were dismissed by the world media who began to keep a watchful eye on the Maldives issues and reported periodically from then on. In fact, this specific BBC report was to become the first of many such reports and the democracy movement began in earnest by the founding of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) just a few weeks later, on the 10th of November 2003. Ever since the MDP was launched and began operations in exile, the movement has gone from strength to strength and the little freedom we see today in the Maldives is, without a doubt, the result of the great efforts and sacrifices of the party members.
It is a fact that today the situation is rather different from what it was 4 years ago. Today, it is not a shock that an international media giant reports on the Maldives issues. Today, it is not a big deal that someone criticises the government or writes an article about the oppressive regime of the Dictator Gayyoom. Four years ago, we were a people who were petrified of the Dictator, yet today we are awake and fearless and ready to fight for our rights. Today the Maldives people are determined to bring changes that will result in the emergence of a new democratic government and free the nation from this tyrant.
On a day like this, it is paramount to reflect on the past and see where we can improve and enhance our activities. If public opinion is anything to go by we must be able to finish the job before the next 17th October. Of course, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done and we the reformists must unite even further to achieve our objectives.
From the time of Adam Mynott's report we have come a long way. We cannot and must not let go of our struggle until every soul in this country is able to breathe in a democratic and free nation where its government respects our basic rights as human beings.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
click here to visit kobaaNet
© Dhivehi Observer 2004